Sophie, my baby who slept through the night in her second week home from the hospital, has been having trouble sleeping recently. I’ve been tired and cranky having a nursing baby in my bed all night. And yesterday was one of those days. I’d had only one or two baby-free hours of sleep. I woke with an itching between the fingers on my left hand that told me I’d failed to get all the mango juice off and was now going to be suffering from a rash for the next week or so. Isabella had wet through her diaper and her pjs were soaked and so were her sheets and blankets. Sophie’s diaper had overflowed on her outfit and she had to be changed. Both girls were crying as I staggered into the kitchen to start breakfast. I broke a glass opening the dishwasher. I had no clean clothes as I’d failed to put a load in the washing machine the night before. I kept muttering under my breath: “I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”
Or, I reminded myself, I could pray. And so I did. “God,” I muttered as I looked at myself in the mirror, the wailing from two children muted by the closed door, “God, I’m going to need a big heaping helping of patience today. Please help me get through this.”
I scarfed down my bowl of oatmeal, grabbed screaming Sophia and headed to the living room to nurse her. Got to start today off with a prayer, I said as I grabbed my Liturgy of the Hours.
And you know what, we got through it. It started to rain as we headed out the door to the pharmacy to pick up more night-time diapers and toothpaste. But we didn’t melt. And eventually there was that blissful afternoon nap when I snuggled with Sophie in my bed while Isabella slept soundly in the other room.
And I was also glad to have read Katherine’s beautiful reflection about sacrifice and the vocation of motherhood, because it helped me to get through the day and reminded me to pray and to offer up my frustrations as a part of my vocation: My Gift is Chaos
So I cannot offer missed meals or refused drinks or hours on my knees before the tabernacle. But I can offer the spills of Apple Juice or Chocolate Milk and the night wakings when I cannot walk straight due to sleepiness or the squeegie diapers that explode on my skirt or even just one of those days when Cecilia needs extra attention and Felicity is teething and I am just one chaotic tornado whirling from one room to another trying to keep both girls happy and make sure both know how much they are loved. It is those moments of unplanned, unchosen chaos that I am called to offer with love and joy. Joyful chaos is my sacrifice. Joyful chaos is my gift.